Astor100 is a celebration of the life and legacy of Nancy Astor and more broadly, it is the celebration of 100 years of women in Parliament. Nancy Astor was the first woman to take her seat in the British Parliament. American-born Nancy Astor (1879–1964), née Langhorne, succeeded her husband Waldorf Astor as Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton in 1919, becoming the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. She continued to represent the Plymouth Sutton constituency until her retirement in 1945.
Nancy Astor was not the first woman to stand for election nor be elected; 17 pioneering women stood in the 1918 general election. Constance Markievicz was the only one elected, but as a member of Sinn Fein and in adherence to their abstentionist policy, she did not take her seat. Her achievements were celebrated in July 2018 and she was formally recognised at Westminster.
The aim of the Astor100 project to bring together a major series of events and make accessible information relating to Nancy Astor and other early female MPs by engaging with historical and contemporary female narratives in Parliament. Building on the work of the Vote100 project, Astor100 is a home for a major series of academic and public engagements throughout 2019 and on to spring 2020 to continue to address issues of gender balance and perceptions of a masculine environment in the heart of the political life. The project also aims to encourage policy makers and educationalists to build on histories of suffrage and think more broadly about women, minority access and contributions to politics and power.
We are also working together with our major partners in Nancy Astor’s constituency in Plymouth, with the National Trust at her country home at Cliveden and with Parliament and History of Parliament.